Shrinathji represents the form of Krishna, in which he lifted the Govardhana hill and subdued Indra the king of Devas who was sending an incessant downpour of rain, causing immense hardship to the cow herds of Gokul. The image of Srinathji is believed to have been a self manifested one. It was originally worshipped in a humble shrine and then moved to a larger temple in its vicinity. Vallabhacharya made arrangements for the worship of this deity and this tradition was continued by his son, Vittalesh Goswami.
It is believed that Taj Bibi, a wife of Akbar had visited this temple. It was during the 17th century that this image was shifted to Rajasthan. Nathdwara is a place of Hindu pilgrimage; it contains a 17th-century Vaishnavite shrine that is
Nathdwara is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site. This is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage shrines of India, enshrining Krishna as Govardhana Giridhari. Nathdwara is situated 48 km north east of Udaipur in Rajasthan, on the banks of the Banas River. Nathdwara enshrines Shrinathji - an image of Krishna, which was originally, enshrined at the Vraja Bhoomi at Mount Govardhana near Mathura.The name Nathdwara means Gate of the Lord. The image was brought to Mewar, for the sake of protection during the period of Aurangazeb, the Moghul monarch.
The chariot carrying the image is said to have gotten stuck here, and hence a temple was established with the permission of the then Rana of Mewar, at Nathdwara. Nathdwara is very closely associated with the Vallabha Sampradaya of Vaishnavism. Prior to his visiting the Shrinathji shrine, Vallabhacharya is said to have described Puri,Pandharpur , Srirangam and Tirupati as four great centers of Vaishnavism, in his work Tatvartha Deepa Nibhandha.
one of the most famous in India. Within the temple is a celebrated image of the god Krishna, popularly said to date to the 12th century BC. The town is an agricultural market and has a government college affiliated with the University of Rajasthan.
in a Pushti Marg Haveli
The gopies of Vraj used to love the Lord so much, they would be at Yashoda’s door at all hours, finding any excuse to see their beloved Nanda Gopal. Mother Yashoda was very protective of her darling child. Concerned that with all these adoring gopies, hanging around her house at all hours of the day, her darling child will never get any time to rest or play properly with his friends. So she decided that all those who wish to visit her beloved Bala Gopal, could do so after he had finished a snack or a meal, and was resting before going out again.
Taking this as his cue, MahaPrabhu Shri Vallabhacharyaji decided to open the haveli, his own version of the Nandalay (House / Palace of Nanda, foster father of Lord Krshna), at specific times of the day only. The great Acharya set aside eight times of the day when the doors of the inner sanctum would be left open for the people to catch a glimpse ("jakhi") of the Lord. Rest of the time, the Lord was allowed to go out and play with his friends - gpoas and gopies of Vraj.
The sequence of eight darshans are set out below.
Mangala First darshan of the day. Lord, having woken up, has just had his breakfast and greets his devotees with the most "auspicious" darshan of the day. This darshan usually occurs at dawn.
Shringar Having bathed and dressed her little darling, Mother Yashoda allows everyone to adore her baby. After this darshan, the Lord goes out to play with his friends.
Gval Having had his mid-morning snack, the Lord is about to go out to heard the cows of Nandaji. Lord is worshipped by reciting His thousand names and the sacred tulsi (basil) leaves are offered with each name.
Rajbhog After his mid-day meal, the Lord is resting in the comfort of Nanadalay. Lord is often most regal and resplendent for this darshan. Fresh garlands and lotuses are offered to the Lord. The the arti, Lord plays chopat, an ancient board game or version of chess to while away the hot afternoon.
Utthanpan Lord has just woken up from his afternoon siesta.
Bhog Having had his afternoon snack, the Lord is about to go out to play again.
Sandhya As the sun dips over the western horizon, the Lord returns with the herds of Nandaji and the gopies come to see their beloved. Mother Yashoda wards off any evil that may have befalled her darling in the woods of Vraj, by doing an arti and the Lord bathes for the evening meal.
Shayan Having had his dinner, the Lord is about to go off to his bed chamber. This is the last public darshan of the day.
The outline of darshans given above is a general layout. Over the centuries, different Goswamies have interpreted the "bhavas" and "lilas" differently, resulting in a colourful mixture of oral and ritual traditions followed by the various havelies of Pushti Marg. For example, the Lord Shri Nathji, having left his beloved Vraj, misses it so dearly, that for six months of the year, he runs back to Vraj for the shayan darshan. So, from Mangala to Sandhya arti, the Lord is reckoned to be in Nathadwara. After the arti, he rushes over, in his spiritual form, to play with the gopies of Vraj. Hence, Shayan arti takes place at Mount Govardhan for the warmer half of the year. During the cold months, running over to Vraj is not such a practical option, and hence the shayan darshan takes place at Nathadwara. Here the bhava of gopijan’s viraha and Raasa-Rasika’s unique lila are of paramount importance.
The svarupa of BalaKrshnalal and Navnit-Priyaji, is that of the Lord as Yashodaji’s baby. The Lord is depicted as an adorable little infant, crawling on the floor, with a ball of butter in his right hand. As the Lord is so small, how could he possibly be expected to wake up early, or herd the thousands of cows of Nadaraj? Shri MahaPrabhuji took this into account and prescribed slightly different darshan times for the havelies of the baby form(s) of the Lord. Hence, the darling child of Yashodaji, still in his rocking crib (cradle), is seen by the public only 6 - 7 times a day.
Hence, Mangala darshan in Navnit-Priyaji’s haveli takes place much after dawn. Typically, Navnit-Priyaji wakes up when Shri Nathji has finished the Shringar darshan. After bathing and getting dressed, the Lord swings in his "palana" (crib). Priests play with various toys to amuse the Lord and temple musicians sing to entertain the Lord. Rest of the darshans take place as described above.
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